Today’s teens are really passionate in speaking out, not just about their own suffering, but about that of others. This. Is. A. Good. Thing. Yet, due to varying reasons, parents can sometimes discourage their teens’ concerns for those treated unjustly or subjected to terrible conditions. Instead, we as parents should recognize the godly sense of mercy and justice that our teens have and encourage them to act on those good desires.
Edmond Burke is often quoted as saying, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” But it’s not just an American thing. From the Good Samaritan to James 2, the New Testament offers kindness toward those enduring hardship as a show of Jesus-style love.
So if your teen is passionate about helping refugees in your city or poor people across the globe, don’t discourage them! They are doing God’s work, in a sense, and it is good. Don’t discredit a $5 gift or a $100 fundraiser. It all matters. Perhaps they need a little guidance, and we need to ask a few logistical questions, but we can still be positive about their passion for those in need.
When our kids want to earn or give money to others instead of feeding their own materialism, we need to praise God! They are displaying His heart and demonstrating His grace in their own lives.
Expand on the Theme
Instead of discouraging or redirecting their passion for the underprivileged, we can help them see those around them in a different light. We can also use this desire of theirs as a springboard into other kinds of action, such as befriending the left-out kid during school lunches or the quirky new family at church that doesn’t dress like everyone else. And the best way to teach that kind of thing is to model it for them.
Do we tend to be like the James 2 people who were rebuked for preferring a certain type or class of people over others? Or do they see us reaching in where people are lonely, hurting, or overlooked?
Esteem Small Acts
Matthew 24, Luke 13, and Luke 21 all describe even more wars and natural disasters during the end times, before Christ returns. These situations no doubt give way to many doubts regarding the goodness and sovereignty of God, but they can also provide opportunities for Christians to demonstrate love toward those who are oppressed. Instead of simply asking hard questions, we can lead our kids in doing hard things, in the face of such difficulties.
Some teens are overwhelmed with anxiety, especially as they learn of tragedies across the globe that are clearly beyond their control. But when they shine their light by bravely offering a smiling face or a helping hand into the dark world around them, we can let them know they’re doing something important.